China asked the UN Security Council on Wednesday to condemn an Israeli attack
on a UN observer post in southern Lebanon that killed four peacekeepers from
Austria, Canada, China and Finland.
Nations soldiers from India carry the body of a UN observer, who was
killed during Israeli air strikes on Khiam village, to a hospital in
Marjaoun village in south Lebanon July 26, 2006. [Reuters]
"For China and for others," China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said, "we
condemn this because I think any attack on the United Nations positions and the
United Nations personnel is inexcusable and unacceptable."
Also on Wednesday, Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed "deep condolences"
over the death of Chinese UN observer Lieutenant-Colonel Du Zhaoyu and expressed
utmost sympathy to his family.
The president instructed
officials to condemn the attack, said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
Hu "demanded the departments concerned properly handle the aftermath of the
incident and take every measure necessary to ensure the safety of Chinese
nationals in Lebanon," it said.
Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said earlier that China felt "deeply shocked"
by and "strongly condemned" the Israeli air raid.
The country called for an immediate ceasefire. "China urges the concerned
sides, especially Israel, to take tangible measures to ensure the security of UN
peacekeepers," Liu said.
"China will work with the international community, increase diplomatic
efforts and push the Middle East situation back to peace and stability at an
early date," he added.
Austria and Finland, both of which also lost citizens in the attack,
condemned the bombing, with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja calling it
"truly tragic." The fourth victim of the bombing was Canadian.
so-called precision attacks seem to be mainly targeting everyone else except the
Hezbollah," Tuomioja said. "The longer this continues the more likely it is that
there will be more similar victims."
Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Israel on Tuesday to investigate what he
termed the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the UN observer post.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday he had spoken to
Annan to express "deep sorrow" over the four deaths in Lebanon and to say he was
ordering an investigation.
But he voiced shock at Annan's suggestion that the attack was deliberate.
Following a closed-door briefing on the attack by Jane Holl Lute, a
deputy head of UN peacekeeping operations, council members hoped the 15-nation
body would adopt a statement on Wednesday or Thursday.
The deaths raised
questions about whether peacekeepers should remain in south Lebanon while the
international community debates whether to send in new forces. France and others
have suggested UNIFIL could help deliver aid or protect humanitarian workers.
Both the 2,000-soldier UN Interim Force in Lebanon and the 155-strong UN
Truce Supervision Organization remain in the area despite intense fighting
between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbollah militia.
Israel to stop bombing 10 times before post was hit
in Lebanon telephoned the Israeli military 10 times in six hours to ask it to
stop shelling near their position before an attack killed four observers and
sparked international anger against Israel, UN officials said
The UN observation post near Khiam came under close Israeli fire 21 times
Tuesday, including 12 hits within 100 yards and five direct hits from 1:20 p.m.
until the peacekeepers' post was destroyed at 7:30 p.m., Jane Lute, assistant
secretary-general for peacekeeping, told the UN Security Council in New York on